Juglans cinerea Linnaeus
Butternut is a close kin to the black walnut though not so valuable a timber tree. It produces attractive wood and edible nuts, but branches freely and seldom reaches a large size. It is common in moist soils, especially along fences and roads throughout the state, but is infrequent in the higher Adirondacks. The wood is light, soft not strong, coarse-grained, light brown in color, fairly durable, and easily worked and polished. It is used for interior trim, furniture, and fence posts. Many butternut trees are infected with a canker disease.
Bark - smooth on young trunks and branches, light gray in color; on older trunks deeply divided into long, broad, flat-topped, whitish ridges.
Twigs - stout, brittle, greenish-gray in color, often hairy, easily identified by a dark-brown furry growth, or "mustache," found just above most leaf scars; chambered pith dark brown as contrasted with the light brown chambered pith of the black walnut.
Winter buds - terminal bud pale, downy, blunt-pointed 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, flattened, longer than wide; lateral buds smaller and shorter.
Leaves - alternate, compound, with 11 to 17 practically stemless long-pointed leaflets, margins serrate as in black walnut; leaves up to 2 1/2 feet in length; leaf stalk, hairy where it joins stem.
Fruit - a rather
large nut, 1 1/2 inches long, tapering at the end, black with fine cut ridges, enclosed in
a sticky, green husk usually in clusters of 3 to 5, ripening in October of the first
season. Kernel - sweet, oily, but somewhat difficult to extract. The butternut has the
advantage of curing without removing the outer husk.
Distinguishing features - "mustache" above "monkey-faced" leaf scars; dark brown, chambered pith.